The Juneau-Douglas High School football team has one of the thicker playbooks in Alaska prep football, and Friday night the Crimson Bears used something from about every chapter to beat the favored Bartlett Golden Bears 14-7 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
Juneau offensive coordinator Mike Hutcherson called a nice mix of running and possession pass plays, just enouogh to keep Bartlett of balance. When Bartlett's defense seemed to have figured out a pattern, Hutcherson simply turned the page of his playbook and called a reverse or used an obscure wedge set called the double-wing to pick up a big gain.
"They'd cover the run, and our pass would be open. They'd cover the pass, and the run was open," Juneau quarterback Brett Fairchild said after completing an efficient 12-of-14 passes for 109 yards. "We got quite a few completions."
"Our offensive coordinator (Hutcherson) really kept them off balance," Juneau head coach Reilly Richey said. "That's what we needed."
Hutcherson said he didn't use everything in his playbook, but he used most of it. Juneau constantly changes formations during a game -- from the spread passing attack to the power-I or the double-wing running sets -- and each formation has several plays that start with the same basic look.
"There are still a couple of things we didn't show, so we'll run them next week against West (Anchorage)," Hutcherson said. "That's one reason our playbook's so big, so they don't know what's coming. Keeping them off balance is the key."
Juneau (2-0 overall, 1-0 in the Cook Inlet Football Conference) avenged last year's 41-12 loss to Bartlett with Friday's victory. In last year's loss, Juneau fell behind early when Bartlett scored after three first-quarter interceptions. On Friday, Juneau only had one turnover and Bartlett wasn't able to convert, helping the Crimson Bears win their 11th straight home game dating back to the 1998 season.
"It felt like the momentum kept with us today," said Juneau tailback Jason Cameron, who rushed for 85 yards and one touchdown. "We definitely got going when we scored, and at halftime we really decided to turn things up. We got our second wind. That (the home-game winning streak) was part of our motivation and why the team fought so hard."
"That's what I've been telling the guys, that we're all the same age and we have no Supermen, except maybe Fairchild," said Juneau fullback Sione Tupou, who rushed for one touchdown and caught seven passes for 72 yards. "It's whoever wants it more."
Juneau's defense held Bartlett to three plays and out on the first three Golden Bears first quarter drives, which was enough time for Juneau's offense to give the Crimson Bears a 7-0 lead. Juneau's first drive sputtered as Fairchild was sacked and threw his only two incompletions of the game. But the Crimson Bears went 63 yards on nine plays on their next drive, which was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Tupou.
Juneau had a chance to score again on its third drive, as the Crimson Bears marched down to the 6-yard-line before their drive stalled on a sack. Juneau lined up to kick a 36-yard field goal, but the snap was over the holder's head and kicker Lee Sullivan had to recover the loose ball. Juneau's defense then had to hold off Bartlett's first extended drive late in the second quarter.
"Condition-wise, I think we were ready, we were prepared," Juneau defensive end Colin Conerton said. "You have to give a lot of credit to our line play. Everyone gave 110 percent."
"They were big, and they could move," Juneau lineman Jonathan Moore said. "It takes that first series to get used to the contact, but then you can improvise because you've got it flushed out."
Juneau took the opening drive of the third quarter and showed its offensive diversity with running plays coming out of four different offensive sets. Cameron capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run behind his right tackle, giving Juneau a 14-0 lead. Juneau drove to the 15-yard-line before its next drive stalled.
Two series later, Bartlett finally found a passing game and the Golden Bears made their only scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. Bartlett quarterback Marcus Watts had been 0-for-10 passing until completing four straight during the drive, which ended with Tyler Blewett scoring on a 2-yard run. Bartlett had one last drive, but threw three straight incomplete passes and then fumbled the snap on fourth down to end the opportunity.
"I thought we had a great shot," said Blewett, who led Bartlett with 90 yards rushing and the one touchdown. "We had our chances, but our offense didn't execute. They (the Crimson Bears) played a lot harder than we did. They were hustling and very well prepared."
"I think Juneau executed well," Bartlett coach John Jessen said. "They didn't make mistakes and that reflects well on them."
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 14, GOLDEN BEARS 7P>
Friday's game at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park
BARTLETT 0 0 0 7 -- 7
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 7 0 7 0 -- 14
Juneau-Douglas -- Tupou 1 run (Sullivan kick), 2:15.
Juneau-Douglas -- Cameron 2 run (Sullivan kick), 5:54.
Bartlett -- T. Blewett (James kick), 2:34.
Sacked yards lost
RUSHING -- Bartlett: T. Blewett 23-90, Gionson 8-20, Watts 4-1, Williams 1-0, Hellrung 1-(-4). Juneau-Douglas: Cameron 22-85, Dutton 3-22, Tupou 6-4, Sullivan 1-(-11), Fairchild 14-(-13).
PASSING -- Bartlett: Watts 4-17-0 -- 64. Juneau-Douglas: Fairchild 12-14-0 -- 109.
RECEIVING -- Bartlett: Williams 1-26, James 1-21, Bode 1-14, T. Blewett 1-3. Juneau-Douglas: Tupou 7-72, Cameron 4-25, Tollefson 1-12.
MISSED FIELD GOALS -- None.